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Become A Building Estimator

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Working As A Building Estimator

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $82,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Building Estimator Do

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry.

Duties

Cost estimators typically do the following:

  • Identify factors affecting costs, such as production time, materials, and labor
  • Read blueprints and technical documents in order to prepare estimates
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, clients, and contractors
  • Calculate, analyze, and adjust estimates 
  • Recommend ways to reduce costs
  • Work with sales teams to prepare estimates and bids for clients
  • Maintain records of estimated and actual costs

Accurately estimating the costs of construction and manufacturing projects is vital to the survival of businesses. Cost estimators provide managers with the information they need in order to submit competitive contract bids or price products appropriately.

Estimators analyze production processes to determine how much time, money, and labor a project needs. Their estimates account for many factors, including allowances for wasted material, bad weather, shipping delays, and other variables that can increase costs and lower profitability.

In building construction, cost estimators use software to simulate the construction process and evaluate the effects of design choices. They often consult databases to compare the costs of similar projects.

The following are examples of types of cost estimators:

Construction cost estimators prepare estimates for a building project. They may calculate the total cost of building a bridge or commercial shopping center, or they may calculate the cost of just one component, such as the foundation. They identify costs of elements such as raw materials and labor, and they may set a timeline for how long they expect the project to take. Although many work directly for construction firms, some work for contractors and engineering firms.

Manufacturing cost estimators calculate the costs of developing, producing, or redesigning a company’s goods or services. For example, a cost estimator working for a home appliance manufacturer may determine a new dishwasher’s production costs, allowing managers to make production decisions.

Some manufacturing cost estimators work in software development. Many high-technology products require a considerable amount of computer programming, and calculating the costs of software development requires great expertise.

Other workers, such as operations research analysts and construction managers, may also estimate costs in the course of their usual duties.

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How To Become A Building Estimator

A bachelor’s degree is generally required to become a cost estimator, although some highly experienced construction workers may qualify without a bachelor’s degree.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. A strong background in mathematics is essential.

Construction cost estimators typically need a bachelor’s degree in an industry-related field, such as construction management, building science, or engineering.

Those interested in estimating manufacturing costs typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, business, or finance.

Training

Some newly hired cost estimators may receive on-the-job training, depending on their experience. Training may include learning a company’s cost-estimating software and techniques.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some employers prefer that construction cost estimators, particularly those without a bachelor’s degree, have previous work experience in the construction industry. For example, experienced electricians and plumbers can become construction cost estimators if they have the necessary construction knowledge and math skills.

Candidates interested in becoming cost estimators can also gain experience through internships and cooperative education programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Voluntary certification can show competence and experience in the field. In some instances, employers may require professional certification before hiring.

The following organizations offer a variety of certifications:

  • American Society of Professional Estimators
  • Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International
  • International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association

Estimators must generally have at least 2 years of estimating experience and must pass a written exam to become certified.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Cost estimators consider and evaluate different construction and manufacturing methods and options to determine the most cost-effective solution that meets the required specifications.

Detail oriented. Cost estimators must pay attention to details, as minor changes can significantly affect the overall cost of a project or product.

Math skills. Cost estimators calculate labor, material, and equipment cost estimates for construction projects. They use software, such as spreadsheets and databases, and they need excellent math skills to accurately calculate these estimates.

Time-management skills. Cost estimators often work on fixed deadlines, so they must plan their work in advance and work efficiently and accurately.

Writing skills. Cost estimators write comprehensive reports, which often help managers make production decisions.

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Top Skills for A Building Estimator

  1. Bid Packages
  2. CAD
  3. Building Projects
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Create scope of work bid packages.
  • Provided in-house design services using the latest computer aided design (CAD) software, including 3D presentations.
  • Estimated large-scale building projects up to $5 million, including design builds with preliminary markups from project initiation to completion.
  • Project Management, producing Change orders.
  • Coordinate in house estimating activities between architectural, HVAC, E&I, concrete, civil, piping, etc.

Building Estimator Demographics

Gender

Male

79.6%

Female

11.8%

Unknown

8.6%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

9.6%

Asian

8.5%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Mandarin

50.0%

Spanish

50.0%

Building Estimator Education

Schools

Purdue University

16.7%

Mississippi State University

13.3%

Glendale Community College

6.7%

Columbia University

6.7%

Saint Mary's College

6.7%

Missouri State University

3.3%

Brookhaven College

3.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.3%

ITT Technical Institute-Tampa

3.3%

California State University - San Bernardino

3.3%

Kansas State University

3.3%

Texas A&M University

3.3%

Bethel University (Minnesota)

3.3%

Indiana University Bloomington

3.3%

Georgia Southwestern State University

3.3%

University of Oklahoma

3.3%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.3%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.3%

Essex County College

3.3%

Upper Iowa University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

19.3%

Construction Management

14.0%

Mechanical Engineering

8.8%

General Studies

8.8%

Drafting And Design

5.3%

Property Management

5.3%

Education

5.3%

Marketing

3.5%

Economics

3.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.5%

Communication

3.5%

Civil Engineering

3.5%

Engineering

3.5%

Science, Technology, And Society

1.8%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.8%

International Business

1.8%

Psychology

1.8%

Engineering Technology

1.8%

Writing

1.8%

Management

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.9%

Other

30.5%

Associate

13.4%

Masters

7.3%

Diploma

2.4%

Certificate

1.2%

License

1.2%
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